The Under Armour South African Championships 2015

The Under Armour South African Championships 2015

For the 2nd time since 2011 the annual South African SUP Champs returned to Cape Town after being held at New Pier Durban for the passed 3 years. A great Durban contingent made the trip down, as this would also form part of the SA team selection for the 2016 ISA World SUP Champs. After assessing windguru and various wave and wind apps, it looked like we were going to be in for some swell and wind. All the divisions were full up with competitors, so it was decided to have the contest over a 3-day period to allow for enough time to complete the event.

Big and bumpy conditions for - Day 1 at Blouberg

Big and bumpy conditions for – Day 1 at Blouberg

Friday morning and a BULK SMS was sent out to everyone that Big Bay was the venue for day 1. Heading down into the parking lot, from the top of the hill, you could see how big it was, as a set closed out across the bay. The first heats were up and the channel on the left of the bay, made for a relatively easy paddle out. The right into the channel proved to be the better wave, as there were some big drops and long rides. The South Easterly wind picked up throughout the day making for some tricky conditions and a couple of the competitors opted for their bigger boards, just so that they could stand up. The comp was called off a few heats early with hopes of better waves the following day.

Grantley Read dropping in on a bomb

Grantley Read dropping in on a bomb in the Legends Division

 

 

 

 

A big set comes through in the Social Mens division - pictured here is Steve Tripney & Dean Phillips looking for salvation

A big set comes through in the Social Mens division – pictured here is Steve Tripney & Dean Phillips looking for salvation

Dave Maxwell finishing strong on a smaller insider in the Open Mens division

Dave Maxwell finishing strong on a smaller insider in the Open Mens division

Day 2 and we were greeted with similar swell but less wind, making for more manageable conditions. A couple of the guys even decided to take the SUPsquatch out. This is a massive SUP that saw 8 of the guys taking off on some 6-foot bombs, much to the entertainment of the crowd on the beach. As the quarter finals went into the water, there were a couple nail biting heats with a couple of the competitors, leaving it until the last minute to catch their 2nd scoring wave to advance. This years South African representative Tom King put on a good show, impressing the judges to secure a spot in the semi finals on the final day. Brandon Ribbink also strung some great heats together, holding on to his chances of taking out another SA SUP title. In the ladies division it was the usual suspects with most of these girls having represented SA at World Champs. All of which wanted to make the final day of competition, as the forecast was looking great!

Josh Salie in the Open Mens division

Josh Salie in the Open Mens division

 

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Tableview was the call for the final day of competition. The first couple heats were in typical Cape Town conditions, as a brisk offshore blew and the temperature must have been below 10 degrees, in and out of the water. The first open semi, saw the youngsters Matt Maxwell and Nick Walker up against 2014 SA Champ Justin Bing. With a bit of hussling going on and an interference call, it was the young Aussie Nick who advanced to the grand final behind Justin. The 2nd semi saw in form surfer of the event and 2014 SA Legends Champ Grantley Read take on SUP Durbs Pro winner Brandon Ribbink and World SUP Tour competitor Tom King. Grantley continued his good form finding the best waves in the heat, it wasn’t enough though as Tom sealed his place in the final on his last wave with Brandon in 2nd.

Brandon Ribbink had his eyes set on the Open mens final

Brandon Ribbink had his eyes set on the Open mens final

The conditions continued to improve throughout the day as the sun came out and the waves glassed off. The kids final saw some incredible SUPing with Nate van Vuuren and Cameron Tripney going to town on the each wave they dropped in to, proving that they are going to a serious force to be reckoned with in the Open division in the next few years.

Chelsea van Rooyen with another great ride - goes onto win the Ladies Social division

Chelsea van Rooyen with another great ride – goes onto win the Ladies Social division

In the junior boys division, it was yet again Nick Walker who reigned supreme continuing his winning streak just ahead of Mathew Maxwell.

Nick Walker climbs his way to first place - Junior Boys division

Nick Walker climbs his way to first place – Junior Boys division

The legends division saw Glen Thompson have the heat of the day, lucking in to bomb after bomb. He secured his first SA SUP title ahead of defending champ Grantley Read who had a great event.

The open ladies division was a hotly contested one with a national title at steak and a spot in the 2016 SA team, there were no friends in the water here. Tarryn King was looking to defend her title and coming off a few 2nd place finishes was eager to get back on top. Roxy Davis was fresh off a win in Durban a few weeks back and was looking to continue her winning. Then of course there were the Robarts (Penny and Tammy) sisters who you can never count out and have been in the finals consistently since the first SA Champs, both having won SA titles and represented South Africa. It was a seesaw battle with the lead changing hands on numerous occasions. In the end it was Tammy who came out on top, going for and landing some big floaters that made the difference, securing her 2nd SA SUP title since 2012. As this was the last SUPSA sanctioned wave event event, Roxy Davis is the lady SUP waverider who will be representing SA next year at World champs.

Tammy Robarts carved her way to the top - wining the Open Ladies final

Tammy Robarts carved her way to the top – wining the Open Ladies final

The Open Mens division was the final heat of the day with young Nick Walker making his first Open Final while the usual suspect Bones, Tom and Justin were all in with a title shot. There was a lot on the line here with regards to who would represent SA next year. Bones got off to his usual early start, working a wave from the back on to the beach. Nick got his wave count up but wasn’t finishing off his waves, going for some all or nothing maneuvers. Tom sat deeper, opting to go on his backhand with some fast transitions and flow through his turns. Justin sat and waited for his first, which finally came half way through the final and lined up perfectly to put him back in the game. It was Justin’s final wave in the last few seconds that secured him the title. This meant that Tom and Justin will represent SA at World Champs in 2016 with Bones missing out by a single position.

Justin Bing throwing his tail all the way to the final and went on to win the Mens Open

Justin Bing throwing his tail all the way to the final and went on to win the Mens Open

Overall it was another great SA Champs event with fun waves and great surfing. It’s great to see how the boards and surfing has come along since last years SA Champs as the sport of Stand Up Paddling in South Africa continues to grow at a rapid rate. I can’t wait to see where the sport will be at next years SA SUP Champs!

Under Armour South African Stand Up Paddle Board Champs 2015 – Words by Justin Bing

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